I have had loads of books in my life with the titles all along the lines of “Getting Started with…”. These’ll be the genre of programming instructional books that will educate you in something in 24 hours, the weekend, 21 days and so forth. This is where most beginners in any given language get their start.
They’ll be some variants in there - “Beginning…”, “Head First…” - but they’re all essentially the same thing. Learn programming basics, learn the syntax, and learn a couple patterns.
I owe these books a lot and for the most part, picking up a language after knowing a few others, these can cut to the point pretty quickly if you want to skip over the familiar topics. However, within them lurks a danger.
Programming for the most part is kinda boring and requires a definite commitment that isn’t very glamorous, getting back pain and eye problems for the most part. The lure of these books is that you’ll save a lot of time by using this effective self-teaching book and get right to the good stuff, and theoretically a promotion or something.
However, at some point for beginners programming is just going to be hard. And this is where the problems can begin and my book purchasing in the past exploded.
When programming got hard, it was very easy to look at this book from O’Reilly or Sams and think: “The book’s not right. Or the book’s not right for me. I should get another one instead.”
The issue is that certain concepts, varying from person to person, are tough for people. And these ideas, let’s say classes, are pretty ubiquitous and you just have to grind through them. The book isn’t the problem, the learning is. But combine that “Java is easy guys. Let’s have fun” attitude in most of these accessible books, and you’ll end up feeling like an idiot or frustrated with the book.
Surely there’s some bad instructional books out there, but that is less likely the case unless we’re talking Apress.
So beginners, trust me, at some point just sit down and push through your chapter that’s giving you trouble. You don’t need another book, a simpler book, Code Academy or whatever. You just need to try repeatedly, and save a couple bucks in the process.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015